In recent years, I’ve discovered something that others have probably learned a long time ago — that the best pleasures are the simplest ones. For me — and doubtless for many others — it’s watching wildlife from my home, enjoying the company of other animals at a distance and having a ringside seat to their antics.

I’m fortunate to see these creatures on a daily basis because food has been set out for them, and they have an expectation that corn and seed and other good stuff will be available . They have also realized that no one on this property will hurt them; that here, unlike some parts of the outside world, they are safe from harm and while they still possess a natural, guarded caution, they have also developed a sense of trust.

A very special joy these days among the turkeys, squirrels, hummingbirds and finches is the regular presence of at least two doe and one or two fawns. I realize — and perhaps at some level they do too — that beyond this property there may well be danger; but here in this zone of safety, the adults and their offspring have demonstrated what certainly appears to be affection for each other in a family setting that is as vigilant and protective and caring as can be found — ideally at least — in any human home.

All of which causes me concern about the approaching “any deer permit” lottery announced by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW). Its intent is to increase the number of deer killed by 28 percent, though how that figure was reached isn’t clear. Public opinion is being solicited about the lottery, but there’s no indication that DIFW will publish the results of this comment period, nor do we know if they will comply with whatever citizens have to say if it’s different from conclusions the department has already reached.

To win the lottery, hunters must have a big game license which costs $26 for Maine residents. However, the lottery is also open to those who live in Canada or other states; for them the cost of the required license is $115. When the lottery drawing is held on September 7, the results will be announced in public, but the drawing will be conducted in private.

One reason may be the discrepancy in the cost of the big game hunting license. With one object of the lottery being to increase DIFW’S revenue, and with non-residents paying more than three times as much, the temptation to choose more non-residents may be too great to resist, especially since no member of the public would be the wiser — but that’s all the more reason why the drawing should be an open one. It’s also the best way to be transparent and avoid any suspicions of impropriety.

Revenue is an important issue here since the sale of licenses generates more than half of DIFW’s support. As stated previously, we don’t know exactly how — in addition to the usual deer season that begins in late October and ends on November 24 — it was decided that nearly a third more deer should be killed by the “winners” of the lottery, and not just by firearms but by every weapon legally available, including bows and arrows, crossbows and muzzleloaders. What we do know is that employees who make such determinations are very likely to tell their employers what they want to hear.

The most egregious example of that occurred some years ago when research scientists paid by tobacco companies testified in public that cigarette smoking was not linked to cancer. Later, the CEOs of these companies appeared before Congress, and, one by one, confirmed what the scientists had stated. It was only after independent researchers were hired, that cigarettes were proven to be carcinogenic. The result was a massive lawsuit that resulted in record-breaking financial penalties for the companies involved.

It also highlights the real risk of compromising the facts. That is far from unexpected from a public agency like DIFW, which is not only held hostage by Maine’s relatively small hunting and trapping communities but also is not about to jeopardize one of its primary revenue sources.

Science that is not objective is no science at all. When employees of a state agency make recommendations that protect and increase that agency’s bottom line at the cost of more animal lives, one has to wonder whose welfare takes precedence — the agency’s or the wildlife it’s supposed to manage.

The specter created by the any deer permit lottery is a grim one — more females being killed, more orphans created, more animal children unlikely to flourish on their own, and — just like our human kids — not knowing enough to be wary and cautious.

I’m fully aware that once the deer who visit in my yard leave its boundary they could be killed, a fate I am sadly unable to prevent though I wish I could. We should at least delay that outcome until they mature and are better able to survive so they can live as long a life as possible.

Don Loprieno, Bristol